ShareThis Page
News

Ringgold's robot battling team not only at play

| Saturday, March 28, 2015, 5:49 p.m.
Katelynn Hill, Brandon Werner and Steve Gerba (from left) of the Ringgold High School repair their robot during the BotsIQ of Southwestern Pennsylvania preliminary competition at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood. The 2015 Final Competition will be held on April 24 and 25 at California University of Pennsylvania's Convocation Center.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Katelynn Hill, Brandon Werner and Steve Gerba (from left) of the Ringgold High School repair their robot during the BotsIQ of Southwestern Pennsylvania preliminary competition at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood. The 2015 Final Competition will be held on April 24 and 25 at California University of Pennsylvania's Convocation Center.
Brandon Werner of Ringgold High School drives the teams robot while competing at the BotsIQ of Southwestern Pennsylvania preliminary competition at Westmoreland County Community College on March 13th and 14th, 2015. The 2015 Final Competition will be held on April 24 and 25 at California University of Pennsylvania's Convocation Center.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Brandon Werner of Ringgold High School drives the teams robot while competing at the BotsIQ of Southwestern Pennsylvania preliminary competition at Westmoreland County Community College on March 13th and 14th, 2015. The 2015 Final Competition will be held on April 24 and 25 at California University of Pennsylvania's Convocation Center.
Members of the BotsIQ Ringgold Rammers are (from left) Steve Gerba, John Sipin, Katelynn Hill, Ben Angell, Brandon Werner, Lloyd Laird, Mark Sipin and Justin Hamilton. Not pictured is Gabe Imhoff.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Members of the BotsIQ Ringgold Rammers are (from left) Steve Gerba, John Sipin, Katelynn Hill, Ben Angell, Brandon Werner, Lloyd Laird, Mark Sipin and Justin Hamilton. Not pictured is Gabe Imhoff.

Brandon Werner and Katelynn Hill were freshmen when they joined the BotsIQ Ringgold Rammers during the 2011-12 school year.

Werner said it was a learning experience in the beginning.

“Our first year, we threw our robot together and we still did well,” Werner said.

That original team had close to 30 students.

“A lot of kids joined because they wanted to play with robots,” Werner said. “But there's a lot more work than that.”

Now seniors, Werner and Hill are co-captains of the Ringgold BotsIQ team. Junior Steve Gerba will be the captain next year.

This is the fourth year for the team, which was started by teacher Jason Mamajek during the 2011-12 school year.

In his first year at Ringgold technical education teacher Greg Shutz guides the team, attending competitions with the students and assisting them in the research and design.

Katelynn Hill's father John Hill is general manager of Pico Pascal Machine Co. in Verona. He taught the Ringgold students how to make the robots and the students made their own.

The company has since hired Werner and Katelynn Hill.

The team's robot features a beater bar that spins and is used to flip the opposition robot. The Ringgold team added a cutting edge to do more damage to the opposing robot.

The SWPA BotsIQ, held earlier this month at Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood, serves as a regional competition, where high school teams are ranked.

The team will next compete at California University of Pennsylvania April 24-25 in a double-elimination tournament. The top team wins a $1,000 prize to help fund their trip to the nationals. The Ringgold Rammers competed at the National Robotics League Competition for the first time in 2014. They will be returning to the competition again May 15-16.

At the national competition, college and technical students as well as high school students compete. Ringgold finished 13th out of close to 70 teams in 2014.

“We even beat some college teams,” Hill said.

At the national competition, judges interview students, who must prove that they did all of the research and design work. Their efforts are outlined in a 5-inch- thick binder that details all of the work involved in constructing the robot. Last year, at the National Robotics League Competition at Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, the Ringgold Rammers won the Best Documentation Award.

In the completion, students use remote controls to maneuver the 15-pound robots to battle each other. The goal is to disable or damage the opposing robot within a 3-minute time span. If neither is disabled during the robotic wrestling match, a group of judges decides which robot performed better.

“It gives them great experience in testing and design, and they're doing something they'll go into,” Shutz said. “Machining is a huge industry right now, and they do a lot of hands-on stuff.”

Hill and Werner said they plan to acquire their journeyman papers to continue in the machining industry.

The team also provides updates on their Facebook page Ringgold Rammers.

“I've always been interested in how things work and engineering,” Werner said. “I would always take things apart to learn how they worked.”

Gerba said when he first joined the team last year, it was a learning experience for him.

“These guys taught me a lot,” Gerba said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me